There is much controversy and debate surrounding fluoride these days. On one hand of the spectrum are supporters stating that fluoride reduces tooth decay and adding it to drinking water is beneficial to those who can’t afford dental care. On the other end are those who are expressing alarm that fluoride side effects outweigh the benefits.
But what is it?
Fluoride is a chemical ion of the element fluorine and is one of the most abundant elements on earth. Used mainly in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and other chemical products; fluoride is said to help prevent tooth decay through protection against acids and the remineralization of damaged teeth.
While it may be true that fluoride toothpastes offer protection and fluorinated water has saw the decreased of tooth decay among children and adults in the lower social strata, studies are being done on its possible health effects.
Some health groups have stated that long-term exposure and excessive consumption of fluoride can cause low IQ, depression, weight gain, increased cancer risks, and heart problems. This concern has been somewhat validated through a research done by Harvard University.
According to the website of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), the recent research revealed that there is a correlation between children living in high-fluoride areas and low IQ. In contrast, children in low-fluoride areas display much higher IQ. Although the studies aren’t conclusive enough, the initial findings support the concern of health groups and demand further study.
In the meantime, if you wish to avoid fluoride; there are fluoride-free toothpastes available. They can usually be found in health shops and are slightly more expensive than the regular toothpastes. Alternatively, you can take the DIY route and make your own toothpaste with coconut oil and baking soda. Coconut oil is known for its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties while the baking soda acts as a mild abrasive for cleaning teeth.